Countdown, part 13: Buxtehuder SVArticle
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Despite being plagued by a long list of injuries, Buxtehude hope to secure their first ever points in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

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Countdown, part 13: Buxtehuder SV

Despite being plagued by a long list of injuries, Buxtehude hope to secure their first ever points in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

They are no strangers to suffering injuries, but Buxtehude have had more than their fair share of bad luck in recent months which has left coach Dirk Leun stunned. Firstly, team captain Isabell Klein has been out for six months after rupturing her crucial ligament in the EHF EURO qualification match against Hungary in March. She hopes to return for at least the last three Group Matches.

Then Dutch line player Diane Lamein was out with another severe knee injury. When Buxtehude secured a shock victory in the qualification tournament at Trondheim in the final against host Byåsen, German international Katja Langkeit left the field with another ruptured crucial ligament, and three days later playmaker Randy Bülau broke her foot in a league match in Trier. Both will definitely not be able to participate in any of the Group Matches.

Coach Dirk Leun said: "We have to stand together now, we have to spread the responsibility on even more shoulders, even though the number of shoulders we have is very low."

Buxtehude - the team of all 16 in the Women´s EHF Champions League with the fewest changes to their roster - have qualified for the second straight time for the Group Matches by winning their qualification tournament. Like the previous year they were very close to becoming German champions for the first time in their club’s history, but just as they did in the previous season, they missed out by just one goal in the final play-off match against Thüringer HC.

Since Leun has been the coach the team has improved constantly by giving young players a chance to develop, guided by a few number of experienced stars.

The player with the longest international experience is right back Stefanie Melbeck, who has more than 220 caps for Germany and several years playing in Denmark. She is looking forward to facing her former club Randers, and said: "Even if none of those I played with at Randers are in the current team, this is a special visit for me. Again there is no easy opponent in our group, but you cannot expect a walk in the park among the 16 best teams in Europe. I hope that we do better than last season."

In 2011/12 Buxtehude lost all their six Group Matches, but maybe it is a good omen that they have switched arena for the upcoming season: BSV will play all their matches in the newly-built CU-Arena in Hamburg.

Three questions to coach Dirk Leun:
What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the Women’s EHF Champions League?
Dirk Leun: At first we are very proud to have qualified for the Group Matches. I think Trondheim underestimated us in the final and the rest was a matter of will, cleverness, using our brains and the performance of our goalkeeper Jana Krause. Concerning the Group Matches we have to cope with this incredible series of injuries. We were taught six lessons last season, so we want to gain some points this year, especially in our home matches. Vâlcea are impossible to beat, but against Randers and Hypo we are hoping for some surprises. We want to show that we learnt something from the previous season. But besides the Champions League we must have an eye on our league performances too.

What does participating in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Dirk Leun: By reaching the Group Matches we are able to develop. Even though we didn't win any points in the Group Matches last season because we had an extremely tough group, we learnt so much. I believe that we will take some points this season, as this group is not that tough despite playing against Vâlcea. We can continue to develop and it's great that we belong among the best teams in Europe. We all know that it is a big burden to carry, playing national league and Champions League in parallel, but we like to take this burden.

What teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?
Dirk Leun: I believe in the ‘usual suspects’ like Vâlcea, Györ, Larvik and maybe Krim.

Buxtehuder SV (GER)
Qualification for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2012/13 season: Winners of Qualification Tournament 2, German runners-up
Newcomers: Marcela Deen (SG Rosengarten)
Left the club: -
Coach: Dirk Leun, since 2008

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/13 season): 2
Group Matches: 2011/12

Other EC records:

Challenge Cup:
Winners: 2010/11
Finalists: 2001/02
Semi-finalists: 2004/05

City Cup:
Winners: 1993/94

German champions: - (runners-up: 2003, 2011, 2012)
German Cup winners: - (finalist: 1990, 1996, 2007, 2011)

Further information
Find more information about Buxtehuder SV HERE
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TEXT: Björn Pazen